Shulman, Max (1919-1988)

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Shulman, Max (1919-1988)

A popular humorist, Shulman was best known for The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis, a CBS television program he created from a volume of short stories of the same name. The television series, for which Shulman was also a writer, ran from 1959 to 1963 and starred Dwayne Hickman and Bob Denver, and was one of the first television shows to focus on the lives of teenagers.

During World War II, Shulman served in the Army Air Corps. He published comic novels concerning college students, civilians during the war, and the difficulties of adjusting to peacetime (Bare-foot Boy with Cheek, The Feather Merchants, and The Zebra Derby) in 1943, 1944, and 1946, a very productive period—during the remainder of his life, he wrote only four more novels. The Dobie Gillis stories were collected in 1951. Shulman adapted his first novel into an unsuccessful musical in 1947, and co-authored the Broadway hit The Tender Trap seven years later. In 1957 he published a novel about the establishment of a missile base next to a complacent commuter town in Connecticut, Rally Round the Flag, Boys!; Paul Newman, Joanne Woodward, and Joan Collins were the stars of a film adaptation. Shulman himself was an MGM (Metro Goldwyn Mayer) screenwriter for a brief period; three comedies he wrote were released in 1953. In later life Shulman was less productive, writing little after the mid-1960s. He co-authored the film House Calls (1978) and was co-creator of the television series of the same name a year later.

—David Lonergan

Further Reading:

Contemporary Authors. Vols. 89-92. Detroit, Gale Research, 1980.

Dictionary of Literary Biography. Vol. 11, No. 2. Detroit, Gale Research, 1982.

Shulman, Max. The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis: Eleven Campus Stories. Garden City, New York, Doubleday, 1951.